DEP Provides $750,000 Grant for Hardee County Regional Wastewater Improvements

Sept. 30, 2014

After identifying a nitrate problem in the Wauchula Hills area in 2000, Florida has invested more than $9 million to help correct this issue. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is now providing $750,000 to complete phase three of the wastewater service-improvement plan for this area.

“This project is an important step in fixing the ongoing nitrate problem we’ve been attacking over the last few years to eradicate,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “This area is critical for the health of the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.”

“I am in support of this project and the benefits it will bring to those residents of Wauchula,” said Senator Bill Galvano.

“Our citizens of Hardee County are very thankful for the support of the legislature, the DEP, and our Governor in funding this project,” said Representative Ben Albritton. “I personally appreciate the great job Governor Rick Scott has done.”

Phase three of the improvement plan will involve installing more than 10,000 feet of sewer lines and associated manholes to connect more than 80 homes to the wastewater facility. These 80 homes are within a department-designated area of especially high nitrates, and the connection to the sewer system will alleviate the nitrate problem.

The initial phase of this project involved a feasibility study, which identified 400–600 homes in the area that were being affected by the nitrate problem. During phase two, some of these homes were tied in to the Hardee County Regional Wastewater Facility.

This area is especially important due to its proximity to the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor. In 2007, DEP, in partnership with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and a stakeholder group of representatives from local governments, regional water suppliers, regional planning councils and others, developed a basin resource management plan to address cumulative impacts to the Peace River Basin. This restoration plan included adopting and implementing pollution loading limits to protect and restore water quality in the Peace River Basin. The Peace River is becoming an increasingly important water supply and the quality of that water will only improve with the proliferation of municipal sewer service in this region.

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